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Being your own boss inspires most to start a business, Barclays survey finds

‘Working for myself’ most likely inspiration for starting a small business, with redundancy, hobbies and childhood dreams also figuring

The most popular reason business owners give up the day job and start a business is wanting to work for themselves, a Barclays survey of more than 200 business owners has found.

54% of those surveyed stated a desire to be their own boss with only a 1% difference between the male and female response.

A more marked gender difference was found between those claiming redundancy was their main driver. In total 20% listed being made redundant from a previous job as the main inspiration for starting a new job but with more than twice as many men (23%) as women (11%).

Coming in an encouraging third, and again with only 1% difference between genders, was those who listed their business as their hobby at 16% in total.

Additionally one in 12 small business owners stated that friends or family were their inspiration.

Women were twice as likely as men to start a business based on a childhood dream and far more likely to be inspired by the birth of a child, with 9% compared to just 2% of men.

Other figures revealed in the research show that older age groups where 56% of the 55+ age group and 43% of the 35-54 group stated they were inspired to start a business because they wanted to work for themselves. By region it was the South and East of the UK which showed the strongest desire to work for themselves; almost a third (59%) listed it as their reason.

Rebecca McNeil, managing director for business lending and enterprise at Barclays, commented: “January is a popular time for new business plans to be made, and many making New Years’ Resolutions may decide to take the plunge and start their own business.

“Being their own boss is the biggest driver when it comes to setting up a business but a change in employment circumstance is also a motivation for people to start a company. It is important that business owners are passionate about what they do, as commitment and motivation are key tools to getting a successful business up and running, so it’s good to see that one in six small business owners have turned their hobby into a source of income.

Barclays is running free, nationwide ‘Fired up for Growth’ clinics designed to help small businesses to unleash their growth potential.

Henry Williams
Henry Williams

Henry has been writing for since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also contributed to many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Young Guns, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides. Before joining the team, he reviewed films for a culture website, and still harbours ambitions of being a screenwriter.


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Showing 1 comment

  1. I have “been my own boss” for many years however it’s not and free an easy as it sounds. As an IT consultant working for the UK financial services industry, I have to do as the client says and go where the clients tell you to go, or else I don’t get paid. It is something to think about when starting your own business.